The R nineT Urban G/S is a tribute to BMW’s most important ever model, and arguably the most influential bike of recent decades. When the R80 G/S – standing for Gelände/Strasse, or Off-road/Street – was launched in 1980, BMW was considering abandoning not only its traditional flat-twin engine but its whole motorcycle division. The G/S was an unexpected hit. It led to four Paris-Dakar Rally victories, saved the boxer layout, sparked the explosion of large-capacity dual-purpose bikes and triggered BMW’s R1200GS-led expansion.
The Urban G/S’s more immediate history dates back to 2014 and the launch of the R nineT, a classy retro-roadster whose air-cooled, 1170cc boxer motor had powered the R1200GS before that model’s move to liquid-cooling. Popular despite its high price, that R nineT has since been followed by four slightly less high-spec variants: basic Pure, sporty Racer, dual-purpose Scrambler, and R80-inspired Urban G/S.